Summer Series Part 2: Wide Leg Trousers

Fitted pants are a staple in my closet but they are most challenging to wear in the summer because they can be very sticky and confining. Wide leg pants are a great alternative, but there are a great many varieties and not all of them are easy to wear. I’ve scoured many shops, including bazaars and online stores, in search of a good, dependable pair like this buttery beige number from Details. I’ve put together three wearable, everyday looks to show how these pants can be very useful, but I also wanted to share some tidbits I picked up on choosing the right one.

  1. Try not to choose pants with too much material in the legs. The intention of wearing palazzo pants is often to appear flowing and swingy, but donning one with too much material will overpower most body types. Instead, choose a pair whose legs will create two straight lines coming from the hips. This will create a very streamlined, polished effect, and won’t bunch up around the thighs and highlight that particular area.
  2. Go for pants that have a higher waistline and zip up along the side instead of in front. A higher waistline will cinch in your middle in the smallest part, and having an invisible zipper along the sides will make the hourglass shape that much more evident.
  3. I’m sure that rocking flats with wide leg trousers is doable, but I always prefer to pair mine with high heels. They unobtrusively add height, and having the pants float gently around my feet makes me feel like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings.

Look 1 is a clean, structured look that I imagine would be a breezy summer ensemble perfect for strolling along gardens or an outdoor mall. I tried to give this oversized dress shirt some shape by tying it in a small knot around the waist, which yields the same effect as tucking it into the waistband. A long gold necklace with a coin pendant subtly peeks out from the top. I added three cute rings and a tri-color bangle for a small pop of color. I think this would also work as a Casual Friday look at the office, depending on how relaxed the dress code is at your workplace.

Look 2 is a more relaxed look that is wearable to almost any casual event. There is a lot of “neutral” going on in the pants so it’s good to punch up the look with a solid color like this green tank. These long gold necklaces, a gift from a beloved cousin, glint cheerfully against the top’s glowing color.

I went for a more refined, feminine approach to Look 3, where I attempt a fresh office look. This light peach top has navy striped accents on it, and the strong details on the shoulders firmly keep the outfit from being too washed out or pale. To keep the look light and airy, I went with a satiny headband to keep hair away from the face, and finished with two bracelets: a dainty textured one featuring faux pearls, and contrasting tough-edged cuffs with gold studs. Finally, these earrings in the shape of happy toast slices never fail to make me smile. Note the little pieces of butter on their happy faces! Peachy make-up and strong eyeliner finish the look.

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Summer Series Part 1: The Maxi Skirt for Work AND the Beach

When the general atmosphere is humid and almost oppressively hot, comfort becomes a priority when choosing clothes for the day. Many items become difficult to wear. Slim trousers  suddenly feel too sticky to the legs, sweaters feel like straitjackets, and black, a color so forgiving and friendly, becomes off-limits. I wanted to share three good clothing investments that will help you keep cool at your workplace during the hottest months of the year, starting with the full-length skirt. I’ve put together four looks: two for work or more formal situations, and another two for casual occasions like beach parties and post-workout wear.

First, four things I learned on the quest to find the right maxi skirt for me:

  1. It’s a myth that these skirts are only for tall women. Celebrities like Nicole Richie and Eva Longoria have often been spotted wearing full-length skirts. The trick is to find one sold by shops that tailor the length for Pinays, rather than importing them from shops abroad, which will have made them for taller women. I found this rich caramel maxi from Liberte, and shops like Details and The Ramp do carry Pinay-sized ones. This particular skirt also cinches at the waist, giving it more shape than usual.
  2. Pick a color that can anchor the entire outfit as the skirt will likely be the focal point. I chose this basic camel color, but vibrant colors like electric blue, salmon, and pale yellow work great, too.
  3. Try to choose one with a solid lining so that you can cavort peacefully on a windy day with no chance of wardrobe malfunctions. The skirt should move gently with the wind, not blow upwards like someone left a fan on under it.
  4. Try not to pay more than 400-800 for one. Many brands and small boutiques will sell these for less than 500, but make a concession if the fit is exceptional.
Look 1 is recommended for the following occasions: post-workout loungewear, to an outdoor concert, to a bazaar or the park, over a two-piece bathing suit to a beach/pool party where you think you won’t be swimming but can’t say for sure. The look above was my exact outfit worn to the Death Cab for Cutie concert earlier this month; I also often reach for this skirt to wear on my way out of yoga class because it doesn’t stick to legs and moves well when there’s a nice breeze. Choose a colorful tank top and tuck it into the skirt, finish with a large statement accessory like this faux-jewel necklace with bright stones, and a bangle or two.
 Look 2 is recommended for a pool party where you know you will be swimming but want to stay covered up while you socialize. I’m wearing this over an olive green one-piece bathing suit and with a single bangle that is pretty much waterproof. I chose accessories that will work well even when wet, like this sturdy necklace made of plastic and wooden rings.
 Look 3 is a look for a workplace where attire is more relaxed, as well as to any event with a casual dress code. While choosing looks for the maxi skirt, I tried to play with textures and color. While a warm-toned maxi skirt is usually paired with deep colors like greens and reds, I realized that it also worked when I paired it with other garments in cool colors and let that skirt be the vibrant standout. The fitted gray sweater is paired with a textured black stone necklace and glossy gladiators for sparkle. I chose a clutch in a contrasting purple color to draw in the eye. Tip: throw a sweater like this on over a breezy tank top and instantly go from day to night.
Look 4. This is a layered look so it isn’t exactly for the warmest weather, but it does illustrate how the maxi skirt can be worn even when it isn’t summer. The skirt cascades downwards in straight lines and is quite billowy, so I wasn’t too afraid to try layering a minidress under it. For this look, I wanted to experiment with textures, starting with the pinkish lace in the dress, moving to the satiny black blazer, the buttery flowy skirt, and finally the studded leather wraps on my wrist. The horse earrings, made of plastic painted to look like wood, are a personal favorite. I also like how the gold-capped tooth pendant is cheekily winking back at the casual observer. Tip: remove the blazer and it reveals a look for another hot day. The black blazer simply adds an edge and formality one needs at the office.